Hello and welcome to our school ELSA page!

Here you will find out about Emotional Literacy and how we support children with their Emotional Literacy in school.

What is an Emotional Literacy Support Assistant?

An Emotional Literacy Support Assistant (ELSA) is a specialist staff member with a wealth of experience of working with children. ELSAs are trained and regularly supervised by the Educational Psychologists in the Local Education Authority. An ELSA is a person who wants to help your child feel happy in school and to reach their full potential.

There will always be children and young people in schools facing life challenges that detract from their ability to engage with learning. Some will require greater support to increase their emotional literacy than others.

ELSAs will help children learn to understand their emotions and respect the feelings of those around them. They can provide time and space for pupils to think about their personal circumstances and how they can manage them.

Some of the different areas in which an ELSA can offer support include:

  • Loss and bereavement
  • Support through a serious illness
  • Self-esteem
  • Social skills
  • Emotions
  • Friendship issues
  • Relationships
  • Anger management
  • Behaviour
  • Anxiety
  • Bullying
  • Conflict
  • Relaxation techniques
  • Separation (including divorce)

How does the Emotional Literacy Support work?

Children are usually referred for ELSA support by their class teacher, School Leaders or the SENCO. Staff members can meet to discuss the request for involvement forms and to identify and prioritise which children require a weekly programme for the next 6-8 weeks. With the programme aims in mind, a series of support sessions are planned. These sessions guide and support the child in developing new skills and coping strategies that allow them to manage social and emotional demands more effectively. Sessions are fun and might include role-play, puppets, board games, art and craft, and stories.

Supporting - not fixing

ELSAs are not there to fix children's problems. What an ELSA can do is provide emotional support.

The aim is to establish a warm, respectful relationship with a pupil and to provide a reflective space where they are able to share honestly their thoughts and feelings.

It needs to be appreciated that change cannot necessarily be achieved rapidly and is dependent upon the context and complexity of the presenting issues. For children with complex or long-term needs it is unrealistic to expect ELSA intervention to resolve all their difficulties, however support will be designed to target specific aspects of a child's need. The Educational Psychologist that works with our school would be able to offer advice on suitability or nature of ELSA involvement in complex cases.

You will find some more information about ELSA on the links below.

Mrs Gorman

Emotional Literacy Support Assistant